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OCHA’s Work with Governments

OCHA, in support of the Emergency Relief Coordinator and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), sets the humanitarian policy agenda and formulates recommendations for the consideration of principal UN organs such as the Security Council, the General Assembly (GA), and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
In addition, OCHA provides policy support to regional organizations such as the African Union and the European Union, as well as guidance on specific Member State initiatives relating to humanitarian assistance.

Humanitarian resolutions

Every year, UN Member States negotiate a number of humanitarian resolutions – on issues such as the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance, and natural disasters – which add to the international normative framework for humanitarian assistance and coordination.

Representing the UN Secretariat, OCHA supports these negotiations, by providing technical and substantive expertise to Member States delegations on issues ranging from humanitarian principles and coordination, humanitarian access, protection, preparedness, needs assessment, gender, to capacity-building for response.
2011 marks the twentieth anniversary of the General Assembly resolution on ‘strengthening the United Nations coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance’ (GA res 46/182), which provides opportunities for OCHA to stimulate debate and foster support on the issues and challenges facing the humanitarian community.

Reports of the Secretary-General

Through internal dialogue and engagement with members of the IASC, OCHA drafts and contributes to reports by the Secretary-General on issues such as protection of civilians, strengthening the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance, and others.  These reports outline the challenges and achievements of the humanitarian community and present sets of recommendations which inform Member States during their negotiation of humanitarian resolutions.

ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment

OCHA also acts as the substantive Secretariat for the organization of the annual ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment, a forum where Member States and humanitarian actors discuss current and future challenges related to humanitarian assistance.  These ECOSOC High Level panels and side events are attended by representatives from Governments, theUN, IASC partners, NGOs and academia. In 2010 for example, OCHA led discussions on humanitarian assistance operations in highly hazardous, insecure or unsafe environments and on improving preparedness to assist vulnerable populations.


Thematic resources
Coordination to Save Lives - History and Emerging Challenges
Reference Guides: Normative Developments on the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance in the GA, ECOSOC, and the SC since the Adoption of GA Resolution 46/182, 2009 - OCHA/PDSB
The Effectiveness of Foreign Military Assets in Natural Disaster Response, 2008 - Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and OCHA 
Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian emergency assistance of the United Nations - A/Res/46/182, 19 Dec 1991


Humanitarian Resolutions and Secretary-General Reports
A/71/82 - E/2016/60 - Report of the Secretary-General on Strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations
Report of the Secretary-General on Strengthening of the Coordination of Emergency Humanitarian Assistance of the United Nations, A/66/81-E/2011/117, 2011